OK then, so how do we reduce our cost of living? Well, first and foremost, we should simply consume less stuff (investing the balance of our income in order to build wealth as described on the previous page). The less we consume, the less money we need to pay to maintain our daily lives. And yes, over the past few decades we have unequivocally proven that consumption does not bring happiness.
The other option for reducing the cost of living is increasing our efficiency of production. You see, since time is undoubtedly your most precious resource, the real measure of your cost of living is how many hours you have to work in order to maintain your lifestyle. If you learn to do your job more efficiently, you will be able to add more value (and earn more money) with fewer hours of work. In the end, this is all that all of us really want: a comfortable life with lots of free time to do the things that really make us happy.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the massive efficiency gains that have granted developed world citizens a very high quality of life over the past few decades were based on cheap fossil energy, seemingly endless planetary resources, limitless waste storage capacity and a very stable climate system. All of these things are now starting to go away, meaning that we will have to work a whole lot harder for our future efficiency gains (or even just to avoid some serious efficiency losses).
Efficiency gains come from only one source: investment. And long term efficiency gains in the increasingly limited world we are living in today can only come from investments in the green industry. It is therefore clear that our financial resilience will depend greatly on the amount of investment flowing to the green industry – both to build wealth and to decrease the cost of living (or at least prevent sharp rises in the cost of living).
The green industry is therefore not just some feel-good prop that we just maintain in order to convince ourselves that we are not destroying our planet, but actually a vital part of ensuring a stable global economy and building a stable global civilization. If we invest heavily in this area, our wealth and standard of living will multiply in a sustainable way and grant our generation the honor of having led humanity into the age of perpetual prosperity. If we fail to invest and just keep on unsustainably consuming, however, I’m afraid that our future looks very bleak indeed and we will probably be remembered as the generation that pushed our planet, our economy and our society over the brink.
The choice is ours, but sadly we are all too susceptible to government influences.